Next up in the traits of people Jesus called blessed are those that mourn. Wait. What? People who mourn have suffered loss. They are in pain. God wants this for us? Surely not. If we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t even want to be around people who are mourning. It makes us uncomfortable. We don’t know what to say or do most of the time. You can’t fix grief so being around it makes us feel helpless and we don’t like that. So, initially we surround the mourners but quickly go our own way. Do we really think mourning ends a week or two later? Of course not, but those who mourn are usually left alone to figure out how to keep going. Why, then, does Jesus call those who mourn blessed? Their reward seems obvious: comfort from the only One capable of comforting wounds that go soul-deep. But, what about them makes them blessed? I’ll admit that I’m not entirely sure; however, it seems to me that the defining characteristic isn’t that they are mourning but that they are capable of mourning. People who mourn are people who love, truly and deeply. The suffering is not what we should aspire to do. We are not called to weep and wail in some great show or to make the suffering the new idol of our lives. We are called to love though with such depth that loss will be unavoidably painful. If it isn’t, we didn’t really love.

Third on the list is meekness. The image that comes to mind when most of us hear someone described as meek is a shy, painfully quiet mouse of a person who lacks the backbone to stand up for himself or herself. We perceive the meek as people who will always be trampled on, taken advantage of, and shoved to the side by people strong enough to take charge. All this may be what the word brings to life in our head but it is not what it truly means. A meek person is calm and patient, not inclined to be angry or resentful. Think about what it takes to stay calm when everything around you is in chaos, to be patient when nothing is going the way you think it should. Doing that takes an unmeasurable degree of strength. Becoming angry and resentful may be the more common reaction but it is the easier one. Being truly meek requires a strength of character that can only come from God. It is no wonder that such people inherit the earth. They are the only ones strong enough to handle it.